How do you say “I love you” in Hawai’ian?

Hawaiian Word of the Week

Our Hawaiian word of the week is aloha wau iā ‘oe, which means “I love you.”

Aloha means love.

Wau means I.

Oe means the both of us.

So the literal translation is: Love + I + the both of us.

I love you

English is a linear language. I love you. Take object like I’m handing you an object- I’m handing you love. I give it away. Or I take love.

Hawaiian is a circular language. Love is here for the both of us to share. I don’t give it. I don’t take it. We share it together. We literally step into the field of love and here we both are.

In English, I take my love back. Or you threw my love away.

In English, the emphasis is on the object— the love. The giving and the taking of it.

In Hawaiian, the emphasis is on the field, the field of love that was created for both of us to share. In Hawaiian, you can step out of this field of love, or you can step into this field of love, where I am. But you’re not taking or giving love to me. I am in the space of love, always.

Whether you step into that space or step out of it— determines whether or not we share the same space of love.

Love is already here. Where are you?

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